F Street Faithful
by Matthew Tate on 12/29/13 at 07:55 PM ET
The Washington Capitals suffered a rough SO loss to the Sabres tonight by the score of 2-1. It was a game that saw the Caps tie a season-high in shots (50), but they just could not get them past Ryan Miller. Not in the regulation; not in overtime; not in the shootout. On to the reCap:
Washington Goals: Troy Brouwer 8 (Grabovski)
Philipp Gruabuer: SO LOSS; 16 Saves; 1 Goal Allowed
Buffalo Goals: Stafford (Ehrhoff)
Ryan Miller: WIN; 48 Saves; 1 Goal Allowed
|Sabres (1)||Capitals (0)|
|Moulson: Save||Fehr: Save|
|Ennis: Save||Ovechkin: Save|
|Gigernsons: Save||Backstrom: Save|
|Omark: Post||Grabovski: MIss|
|Flynn: Save||Brouwer: Miss|
|Ott: GOAL||Green: Save|
It's really hard for me to watch the Sabres and not just think about how much I don't like Steve Ott. Like, a lot.
Sabres, like most teams, spending a lot of time shading Ovechkin on power plays. Caps made a great adjustment (especially Ovechkin) to look for slot deflections as opposed to straight shots. If they keep adding more options to this power play, their biggest problem will be deciding which to use.
When watching Caps' games, it's pretty commonplace to see one team grossly outshot to start the game. What is rare is when it's the Caps doing the dominating. The Sabres did not register their first shot on until there was 15:34 remaining in the first. It's nice to be on this side of it, though it would have been nicer to actually score one.
If you're in the world of hockey analysis, advanced stats become the norm. I'm always hesitant to make them the be-all and end-all of hockey analysis, but they typically are great indicators. That is unless the Caps are involved. We have seen them repeatedly get dominated when it comes to Corsi and Fenwick, and yet they still win games. Now, we see the alternative. They absolutely dominated this game through two periods (30-6 in shots), and yet still trailed 1-0. It's stunning really.
I know a lot of people are calling for Quick to start for USA in Sochi, but I'm still on the Miller bandwagon, and this game showed why. Despite some terrible coverage by the Sabres for parts of this game, Miller was fantastic. If he can be that good with that group in front of him, imagine what he can do with a solid group of blueliners.
Philipp Gruabuer's repeated starts (when Neuvirth is healthy) continues to make me think a move is coming soon. Yes, Grubauer is playing well, but no more well than what Holtby or Neuvirth could have managed. My money (which isn't much) is on Neuvirth being somewhere else in a week or so. But then again, Oates isn't exactly known for his player management skills.
Speaking of Grubauer, his play in the shootout on Omark was amazing. After Omark's shot hit the post, it bounced back off Gruabauer and was headed into the net. It surely would have given the Sabres their first shootout goal were it not for Grubauer reaching behind and gloving it.
Joel Ward was a bit snakebitten tonight. He had at least five or six uncontested shots from the slot, but couldn't beat the wall that is Miller.
I don't think anything will come from it, but Tyler Ennis definitely left his skates when he leveled Oleksy late in the third period. You really don't need to see the replay to know he would have had to leave his feet to level anyone.
People will say the Caps played down to their opponents today, but I don't see it. If not for Ryan Miller, the Caps easily could have easily put up 5+ tonight.
The Capitals continue their northern journey to Ottawa for a Monday-night clash.
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Welcome to the home of the F Street Faithful, run by Matthew Tate. This is a go-to blog for all things related to the Washington Capitals. The F Street Faithful is 5% news and 95% breaking down the news.
In the past I have written for several other sports blogs as well as the college newspaper while at York College of Pennsylvania. I am a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania but am based out of Southern Maryland.
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